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STRONGER THAN THEIR FATE

 

 

 

NOTE  This story was written purely for entertainment and is not for profit, and is not meant to trespass in any way on the holders of the rights to Starsky and Hutch.

 

(*) All my gratitude to Wuemsel and Cristina. They are my muse and my help.  Thanks, friends! (NOTE) I´m taking some liberties in this story. According the fandom Starsky is some months older than Hutch (as PMG is five months older than DS.) However, and since Starsky seems younger, in my story he´ll be the younger one.

 

 

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.

-Aristotle

 

 

Part I. Coming back again

 

It was dispatching day in the Reincarnations Department.

 

During the last centuries, it had a hard time waiting for its chance to come back. It yearned for a human body again, to feel the sun warming its face. To taste a good meal. To feel its skin being caressed, touched again. To play. To love. To laugh, and even cry and suffer, if thus was how it had to be, because that was the stuff life was made of. And it loved life. It had enjoyed every moment it had spent in that chaotic and temporary situation that was being alive. It couldn´t wait for the moment when It would finally return. Patience had never been one of its best qualities.

 

It couldn’t help but spending endless hours in front of the Door, waiting to be called, driving everybody mad. The Guardian. The other souls that were there, waiting patiently for their name to be read out.

 

Even…well, especially…HIM.

 

“That’s not fair! You are all complete, but everyone is getting their destinations before me!” It almost shouted out to the other souls that were waiting in a tidy row. “And I should be with him already. My other half did come there a long time ago! It´s not fair! Not fair at all!”

 

“SHUT UP!!” all the souls waiting in front of the Door yelled in one voice.

 

“Ooookay, okay guys. I’ll wait. I’ll be patient. And silent. BUT IT´S NOT FAIR!!!”

 

It kept his promise, waiting silently, though pacing sulkily like an angry kid, until the Guardian opened the door, and it was led into.

 

“I-I... I can go there now? I can go with him?" it asked Him, glowing in anticipation.

 

“Take it easy, boy,” He said, raising his hand and, with a shadow of a smile, curling his lips.

 

The soul hesitated briefly before shyly asking, “'Boy'? That means that this time I’ll be a boy? Not an elephant, a weeping willow or an ant like the last time? That was mean, man!” he exclaimed in a child-like mood.

 

“Yes, I´m calling you 'boy', because this time you´ll be a man. Like him. And you both will make great things together. You´ll fight together to help people, like you did last time you both were together. You´ll meet each other soon. And you both will be friends. More than friends. Soul brothers. Now, go there. Your parents are waiting for you."

 

*******

 

He was a sickly baby. At the age of seven months, little Kenneth Richard Hutchinson still had no idea what it happiness felt like, or being healthy, painless. He’d caught two bad colds the winter right after his birth, and in late March, one of them turned into a pulmonary infection. After suffering a seizure, the little kid had been rushed into the nearest hospital, and for some days the doctors were unable to assure his parents that their baby would get better. His fever was high, he was underweight, and he often got sick to his stomach. His health troubles had turned Kenny into a sad baby since the very first day he´d opened his eyes to the light of the world. It looked at times that he´d never stopped crying since the first sound he´d uttered, and he didn´t seem to have a reason to stop, anyway.

 

That morning, however, everything was different. For first time in weeks, the child lay asleep peacefully on his hospital cot. A smile tugged at his little lips, and his fever was almost gone, much to the amazement of his parents, the doctors and the nurses.

 

“Mrs. and Mr. Hutchinson… I must admit that I´ve never seen anything like what happened to your son. Just a while ago, your baby´s condition was critical. He had a high fever and serious troubles breathing. Despite the antibiotics, my colleagues and I were convinced that Kenny wouldn´t make it through the next days. And now… His fever is almost gone, he doesn´t need the oxygen mask anymore, and he began to eat and rest properly. I don´t want to give to both of you false hopes, but the fact is that if things are continuing to improve this way, you could take your son back home with you in three weeks, maybe two."

 

Ellen Hutchinson squeezed her handkerchief with shaking hands, as Richard Hutchinson thanked the doctor, who in the last hours had been watching the improvement of the couple’s first-born´s condition in bewilderment.

 

*******

 

That same morning, somewhere else in the country, the New York home of a police officer and his wife was blessed with the arrival of their first son. A beautiful, dark-haired and robust baby, who came to the world not crying, but smiling.

 

In that beautiful spring morning, David Michael Starsky--Davey for his parents--jumped into life, and from that moment, the hearts of Michael and Rachel Starsky, and their modest home warmened up.

 

Despite the deep love she felt for her husband, Rachel had never felt complete, until that very moment, when she held her son for first time.

 

Joy, a new kind of strong and magic love and lots of hard work, was what filled her days, once she brought Davey home.

 

She had been discharged from the hospital just four days after the birth, with her baby in her arms, and her husband holding her shoulders in a way that spoke volumes about all the love and pride he felt over his little family.

 

The morning of their leave, all the maternity nurses came to say their goodbyes to the lucky lady and her lovely baby, who looked at all of them with his small blue eyes and that special smile that all the hospital personnel had come to adore.

 

“This kid is special, Mrs. Starsky. You both will be very proud of him. He´s just a baby, but I can see it in his eyes already. I´m sure of that,” Louise, the chief nurse, said, caressing the little hand Davey was holding out to her.

 

Next stop was home. The home where the baby would grow up at, where he’d spend the happiest moments of his young life, and where he would face death for the first time, when he would be still too young to even know what life was.

 

The first days were very busy for Rachel. She welcomed all the relatives and friends, who would drop by every now and then to meet the new comer, and had to take care of Davey while her husband was at work. 

 

Davey was a really good baby, he´d just get angry when he was hungry. That though, was the case rather often.

 

The rest of time, though, and despite being just a few days old, he was the perfect kid, presenting everybody with his toothless smile and babbling in a clear request for more cuddles and attention, something he seemingly could never get enough of.

 

*******

 

The last days had been full of joy and amazement for the Hutchinson’s. Stepping back from death’s doors and despite all odds, Kenny kept on improving, and the doctors and his parents as well, began to see a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

 

Twenty days after his arrival at the hospital, the baby came back home. Inexplicably, his health troubles had been overcome and seemed to be forgotten, vanished in the air.

 

 

Part II. Growing up.

 

From that far day in which, being just a baby he´d been discharged out of the hospital and forth, Kenny was a healthy kid, who grew up nicely as the years went by. However, he was always a lonely child. Despite his intelligence and gentle heart, he seemed unable to find friends in school or in the neighborhood, and even though he became the brother of a sweet little girl three years later, he built up a thick wall around himself to live in a world of his own. A place unlike reality, where only he and his imaginary friend had place.

 

“You shouldn’t worry, Mr. Hutchinson. Most kids invent an imaginary friend to play with. That doesn´t mean Kenny´s crazy,” Mrs. Curtis, the school director and Kenny’s teacher as well tried patiently to explain to a concerned Richard Hutchinson that his oldest son´s demeanor was nothing but a normal kid´s play.

 

“Other kids aren’t TALKING to an imaginary boy, when friends or relatives are around. Other kids aren’t DRAWING him. Other kids aren’t running around telling everybody that his friend was born exactly in March seven years ago, and they usually don´t save part of his ice cream or lunch for him. And other kids have REAL friends, for God´s sake!” Mr. Hutchinson yelled, brusquely placing a sheet of paper onto Mrs. Curtis desk. On the paper, there was a drawing obviously having been done by a child that showed a dark, curly-haired boy with a huge smile and eyes painted in a shine cobalt blue.

 

“Buddy!” Mr. Hutchinson said, trying hard to keep his anger at bay. “That’s how Kenny calls him! Buddy!"

 

 

*******

 

Daveyyyy! Davey, honey, lunch is ready!” Rachel Starsky called out to her son, who was climbing up a tree in the back yard.

 

“Be right there, Ma! Right there!" The thin but strong seven-year-old slid agilely down the trunk, jumping down the last couple of feets, as his mother, seeing him across the kitchen window, held back a fear-filled cry, covering her mouth with both hands. Seemingly not noticing, the child trotted merrily into the kitchen.

 

“David Michael Starsky! I told you not to climb up the trees! You’re not a monkey! Besides, you could get hurt!” She said as the child tiptoed to pick up a meatball from the serving dish, popping it into his mouth.

 

“I wofn´t get hurft, Ma,” Davey said almost unintelligibly with his mouth full of food.

 

“Davey! What did I tell you about picking up food before lunch time, uh? And with those dirty hands!”

 

“I´m hungry, Ma!” the little kid complained, looking up into his mother´s eyes with those deep blue eyes that, for Rachel Starsky, were shinning brighter and were more beautiful than any jewel. She lifted the child into her arms, kissing his cheek and burying her face into his dark and silky curls, lingering for a moment in the smell of his hair in which she could still sense his baby smell.

 

“Ma! Let me down! I´m not a baby! The only baby here is Nicky,” Davey grumbled, struggling to get down.

 

Rachel Starsky laughed, lowering Davey back on the floor. “Yeah, you’re right, sweetheart. You’re not a baby, but my little man. By the way, who was playing with you out there? The Sheldon kid?”

 

“Nope. Not Benny but Blondie,” Davey said nonchalantly.

 

“Who?”

 

“Blondie is my friend. Nobody can see him but me.”

 

“Oh. I see. And when will I be able to see this Blondie? I´d love to meet him,” Rachel asked, knowing perfectly well that her son was talking about an imaginary friend.

 

“I don´t know.” Davey shrugged his thin shoulders. “Only I can see him.”

 

“Come on, honey, go wash your hands before lunch. Pop is about to come.” She patted her son´s behind, proudly watching the child climbing the stairs to the bathroom two at time.

 

 

*******

 

 

Kenny  was an unhappy boy. Unhappy and lonely. He wanted to have friends, but it seemed that he was too shy to found some. His only happy moments were the ones he spent on his grandfather’s ranch. But when the old man died, those rare moments of happiness were gone, as if they had been buried along with the lifeless shell that had once been the keeper of  Kenny Hutchinson´s easy smile.

 

At the age of almost fourteen, Ken was a tall and slender teenager, and his face began to show the first distinctions that just in some years would turn him into an attractive and handsome young man.

 

Besides, Kenny Hutchinson was one of the best students at school. His grades were excellent; however, his father always seemed to be expecting more of him. At times it appeared to Kenny as if his father was always disappointed of him.

 

In his home he felt like a stranger. Love seemed to be only a sign of weakness there. Only the good manners, the courtesy and the money, meant something at the Hutchinson’s home. Kenny grew up without knowing what it was like to play like a real child. What the tenderness of an embrace was.  What it felt like to be really loved.

 

At school, things weren’t better. There, he was nothing but some kind of pariah. All his school mates thought, that he was just a stuck-up boy, when in fact he was only a lost kid longing for love, unable to find it.

 

At nights, when his family was already sleeping, and he was alone in his bedroom, softly playing his guitar, he remembered his childhood, when he had shared games and fun with his imaginary friend. Buddy, as he’d called him. And even though those times seemed so far gone, half-buried in his memory, he still missed those moments spended with the unreal child. Back then, he’d always seen him so clearly, that at times he’d thought that Buddy was a real person, that the only thing he’d had to do was to go out and call out for him.

 

*******

 

Davey was coming back home from school, walking with his characteristic swagger and eating a chocolate donut. In those last months, he´d felt strange. His body was changing; he wasn´t as slim as he´d used to be, but slightly more muscular. His voice was changing as well. And that was the worst of all for the young boy, because it decided to show in the most inopportune moments --when he´d answer the phone, or when he´d be at the ice cream stand, asking for his all-flavours special and huge cornet-- Then, apparently out of nowhere, a strange break would appear in his voice, like a shrill noise, embarrassing him.

 

Besides, there were the girls. Those strange creatures who lately turned out to be even more odd and bothering than before.

 

Specially Melissa. A thirteen-year old blond girl, who, with her friends and for years, had enjoyed making fun of him, of his bony frame and his curled hair. Suddenly, though she wasn´t joking any more, but just blushing and stuttering when she saw him.  She even let her school books fall to the floor every time he got near her, as if her hands and arms became boneless or paralyzed just in those moments.

 

Bah! Girls!  Who needs them, anyway? Young David Starsky thought, shrugging his shoulders and chewing his donut, while getting closer to home. The home that, though he was unable to know yet, was gone. Empty. Deadly wounded. A home that would need years to heal if just a little.

 

First he heard the sound of sirens approaching. Then the he saw the patrol cars and the ambulance. The bleeding body lying on the sidewalk. The crying woman holding the seven-year-old boy in her arms.

 

Davey needed some moments to assimilate what he was seeing. Those weren’t just patrol cars, but the cars of his father´s colleagues. The body lying on the ground wasn´t just a body, but HIS FATHER´s body. The woman and the child weren’t just any woman and child, but his mother and brother.

 

As the realization got into his head, and just in a split second, his whole world crumbled down, fell like the man on the ground had.

 

“POP! No!!!”

 

 

********

 

“Ken? Kenneth, are you okay, son?” Mrs. Curtis asked approaching the suddenly pale and shaking Ken Hutchinson. The boy was putting his books into his schoolbag, when suddenly he needed to sit down, a powerful, yet unknown sensation grabbing him.

 

“I-I don´t know… It´s…strange.” Then, the boy got to his feet, breaking into a run, and locked himself in the school bathroom.

 

His stomach hurt, the room was spinning, and he had a hard time trying not to pass out as a heart wrenching sorrow filled his eyes with tears.

 

Just a minute earlier he’d been feeling fine, gathering his books together, ready to go home after his school day, when, just a moment later, the strong and inexplicable anguish he now still felt, threatened his balance as his knees had buckled.

 

Kenny?” the concern-filled voice of Mrs. Curtis came through the bathroom door.

 

“Kenneth, son. Are you okay? Do you want me to call the school doctor?”

 

“No-no. I´ll be okay. Just give me a moment, okay? I’ll be fine. Just need a moment.” the boy´s choked voice came from the other side of the door. The school’s director waited, until a pale Kenneth Hutchinson emerged from the cubicle, walking unsteadily, a thin layer of sweat covering his forehead.

 

“Kenny, son. What happened? Did you get sick to your stomach?” The boy shook his head,  heading for the sink to splash some cold water into his face. He cleared his throat before saying “I-I was okay, I-I don't know what happened. All of a sudden I-I felt ...sadness” He stopped, trying to find any sense in his words. “A sadness so strong I... it caught my breath…” Mrs. Curtis looked at him silently, just listening, trying to understand what the sensitive kid tried to share with her.

 

“That doesn´t make any sense to you, does it?” He asked shyly.

 

“Does it make sense to you?” his teacher asked, trying to no intimidate the boy.

 

“No, I think it doesn´t .But it was real. It was so... real.”

 

 

*******

 

It had been real. Davey Starsky´s worst nightmare had been very real. It still was. Michael Starsky, his father, his role model, his Pop was dead. Gone. He would never come back home. And with him, the joy in Starsky´s home had died too.

 

Young David didn´t know how to cope with the tragedy. How to help his mother to go on.

 

Unexpectedly, and from being just an unworried teenager, he suddenly needed to learn how to be a support for his defeated mother, and a role-model himself for his little brother. A very hard task for somebody who was just a kid himself. A kid, who was so overwhelmed by sadness that he found even hard to breathe at night

 

Once relatives, neighbours and friends had left the day of the funeral, and his mother, having had to take a sleeping pill, and Nicky were in bed, Davey had time enough to greet the new silence and loneliness that from then on would reign in his house. It wasn´t the usual silence that filled the place when everybody went to bed. It was a new kind of silence.

 

A silence that would hide pain and shadows behind every corner. It was frightening. Threatening.

 

He was scared, mostly because he knew that nobody would come to rescue him from his pain. He´d have to learn how to deal with it, and with the fact that from that day on, he wasn´t little Davey any more, but Dave Starsky, a young boy, who would have to make sure that, despite the cruel and absurd death of his  father, life would go on in his home.

 

That night he couldn´t sleep. He spent all night long thinking, trying hard to hold each memory he had on his beloved father and his happy childhood. Their picnics and rides on their bikes together, their Christmases, Hanukahs and Thanksgivings, days shared in joy and love. The times when his father had shown him the real meaning of love, the times when hed´d still be able to be just a kid, playing on the old tree with his friends or with Blondie, his imaginary friend.

 

He remembered his long time forgotten, unreal friend. How real he had seemed to him those days, how much fun they had shared together.

 

“Hey Blondie. I haven´t thought of you for too long. How are you doing, old friend?” Davey joked bitterly.

 

 

*******

 

Kenny was in his bedroom. As usually, when his family was already sleeping, he lay awake for a while, reading, studying or softly playing songs on his guitar. That night though, the kid was rummaging through his drawers, looking for something that he hadn´t thought of for months, but that he needed to find right now.

 

After searching thoroughly in his drawers, bookcases and his wardrobe, he found it with the same joy one would feel over finding a treasure.

 

Kenny took the cardboard box from the drawer, placing it onto his bed and opening it. There, a lot of bittersweet memories were waiting to be discovered all over again. His children´s books were there, his first pencil case, and even an old and crummy teddy bear that looked at him from his only plastic eye.

 

And there, in the bottom of the box, it was. Out of two blue points that were supposed to be eyes, his old pal looked at him, his smile as big as the hand of a little child had once drawn it

 

“Hey Buddy! Long time no seeing you,” Kenny said, carefully picking up the old drawing,  looking at it the same way he would look at the picture of a dear and missing friend.

 

“Know something, Buddy? Today I´m sad. I don't know why, but I am. I only know I want to cry.” Kenny got back into bed, still holding the old drawing in his hands.

 

“And you know, what’s strange? I guess you’re sad too,” the boy said, swallowing his tears, still staring at the handmade portrait.

 

“They tell me I´m too old for crying. Men don't cry, my father says, but I´m sure that you wouldn’t mind if I was crying, right? Besides, this night, you’re sad too, so why don´t we cry together, huh, Buddy? It will be our secret.” Kenny’s voice choked with his soon unstoppable tears. He cried until he fell asleep. He didn´t know why he cried, he just did. He spilled tears until his soul was clean and his mind calm, finally succumbing to a peaceful sleep, holding the coloured drawing close to his chest.

 

 

Part III Life changes and decisions.

 

After his father´s death, life seemed to take a turn for the chaotic for young David Starsky. He was growing up, and with him, his anger against the whole world did grow up too. He no longer was the affectionate kid willing to help and support his family in their darkest moments of pain, but a confused, angry and rebellious teenager, who seemed to be drawn to the abyss of danger, despair, fury, that always opened to young men like him like a greedy old woman awaiting another being´s fall.

 

He got often himself into trouble, up to the point of even coming home after a fight, beaten, bleeding, or drunk more than once. His behaviour and grades at school were getting worse and worse; he even got expelled from school twice in two months. On the other hand, and much to his mother´s desperation, he was hanging around with the wrong guys. A group of boys already having police records at their early age, though those were just filled with just little misdemeanours at the moment.

 

Rachel Starsky felt unable to control her angry oldest son. Trying to overcome the sadness and loneliness, working as a cleaning lady to get some more money and take care of her house and little Nicky was hard enough for her, too hard for also being able to deal with an embittered and quarrelsome kid, so, with her heart aching, the woman finally made the hardest decision of all her life-- she sent  Davey to live with her sister Rosie and her brother-in-law, Al, in Bay City. There, surrounded by love and the joy and discipline that she was unable to offer to Davey, she hoped the kid would find his way back to safety, self-control, contentedness.

 

“Let me guess. You got tired of me, and so you’re just sending me away, huh?” Davey asked defiantly with his eyes burning with rage.

 

“Davey, son. Try to understand.”

 

“I do, Ma. I understand perfectly. It´s easy. You don't love me! I´m just a bother for you and that´s why you-” Rachel cut off Davey´s words with a hard slap to his face, regretting it the moment she did it.

 

“Davey… Davey honey… I´m sorry! I´m so sorry.”

 

“Okay mother. Beat me. Do it now, ´cause from now on, I guess you won´t get too many chances to do it again! You know, mother? I thought you loved me. Now I see how wrong I was.”

 

“DAVEY! Davey, son. That’s not true! I love you.”

 

“Save your lies for the others, mother. I´m not buying that bullshit! Not anymore!” With unshed tears in his eyes, the boy stormed to the street, slamming the door and leaving Rachel in a crying heap on the floor.

 

The following days were filled with heavy silences at the Starskys´ place, just broken by eight-year-old Nicky´s innocent plays and words. Davey exchanged as few words as possible with Rachel. He knew that it was hurting her deeply, and he hated himself for that, but he couldn´t help himself. His stubbornness and pride were clouding his mind and heart, preventing him from doing what he wished more than anything else; to wrap his mother in a bear hug and assure her how much he loved her, and that he would do everything that was in his power to make things right again.

 

But he didn´t do it.

 

A week later, David Michael Starsky, with his little suitcase and his heart flooded in rage and pain, left his home without a backward look, to go to his new life in Bay City, while his mother stayed in New York, clinging to the memory of her beloved son.

 

*******

 

Years went by. Kenneth Hutchinson wasn´t Kenny any longer, but Mr. Hutchinson, Jr. He was 20, a man.

 

He was attending the Faculty of Law. He would be a lawyer. His father wanted that. The quiet student’s OWN dream, though, was to join the force, become a policeman. To help people. To make a difference in his life and hopefully in other people´s lives, but his wishes were the least important matter for his family. And he was too scared to dare disobeying his father´s orders.

 

“You´ll be a lawyer, Kenneth, like me. You´re an intelligent man, and you´ll be one of the best lawyers in Minnesota. You´ll be rich, important. Powerful businessmen will ask for your services. You´ll make us proud of you.”

 

His life was settled. Ken didn't know how things had taken that course, but there he was. Feeling unhappy, trapped, still unable to find what he´d spent all his life looking for; Love, peace of mind, freedom.

 

His family had everything planned for him. He knew perfectly how his life, his future had to be. Kenneth Hutchinson would be a lawyer, respected, rich and powerful. Later he’d be a husband, a father. He´d build a family so respected, rich and powerful as his parents´. THAT, and nothing else, would happen.

 

His life would change, but only on the outside. He´d still be unhappy. Painfully unhappy, but that didn´t seem important at all, because in his life, a life planned by others, there was no place for rifts, doubts, disagreements.

 

What Ken needed was to find a meaning of life, HIS life, the life that rightfully belonged to him. A goal. A different way of living than what everybody else had planned for him, but the young man was so overwhelmed by his father’s authority that he was unable to think. Unable to disobey the strict man’s orders, and even more so, to admit to himself his own desires and needs.

 

The moment he finally did so, though, he knew what he had to do. He had to go away, to escape the golden prison that threatened to kill his future, his sanity.

 

He had everything planned. He knew that he acted cowardly, fled rather than fought, but he didn´t care. He was a coward, truth, but only because nobody had ever taught him how to be brave. He would have time to deal with that later. Right now he needed to breathe the air of freedom, to control his own life, to feel like the owner of his own fate for the first time in his life 

 

That night, once his parents were sleeping, in the quietness of his bedroom, young Ken took his suitcase, quickly stuffing some clothes into it. Carefully, he placed his guitar into its case and searched in his drawers, shelves and wardrobe, to make sure he hadn´t forgotten anything, when the old cardboard box that rested in the upper wardrobe shelf, fell down and its contents spread on the floor. Memories it were, pieces of another past, not the one spent in painful loneliness, longing for a touch, a smile, a friendly word, but a past that managed to curl up his lips in a smile every time he saw it displayed in the few items that box contended. He kneeled down gathering together the one-eyed teddy bear, books, the old pencil case, and some more stuff, even the ragged drawing showing a curly head and a smiling face that had seemingly aged like a real human being, the colors fading, the paper wrinkling like a human face.

 

Ken looked briefly at the drawing, smiling once more at the memories of his childhood games.

 

Once all the stuff was back in the box, Ken got to his feet to place it back in the wardrobe, when he suddenly thought differently and picked up the drawing, folding the paper carefully, and putting it into his wallet.

 

“I guess that from now on I can use a lucky charm,” the young man said to himself.

 

It was almost midnight, when Kenneth Hutchinson stepped down the stairs, suitcase in hand and guitar hanging over his shoulder. Heading for the front door, and after a last  sad look back at the place that was his parents´ home, not his,  he opened the door and slid quietly out, leaving his parents, their dreams, their orders and a letter behind.

 

Dear father,

 

I don't want to be a lawyer, nor rich or powerful. I only want to be happy. Don't worry about me. I’ll be okay. I’ll get in touch with you soon to make things right, but now just I must go away. I´m a coward, a good-for-nothing and a weak guy, I know.  Guess I´ll just have to live with that. But I don't care. Right now the only thing I want is to live.

 

I hope it´ll don't hurt you too much, but I´m only doing what I feel I have to do. I´m sorry. I wish things were different, but they are this way, and I´m afraid that to change them is something out of our power.

 

I guess that all these words are just a poor attempt at apologizing to you, explaining myself, and I also guess that I´m wasting my time trying to explain anything to you, but, father, just this time--try to see it my way and forgive me.

 

Take care of yourself, mother and Carol

 

Ken.

 

Ken Hutchinson took a cab to the bus station and bought a one-way ticket to the West Coast. The end of the line was in L.A., but maybe he would get out before that. He didn´t know. He just knew that any place far enough from Duluth, his home and his family, a city where he could find a job and a place to live in by his own rules, would be fine.

 

The trip was long, boring and uncomfortable, but after hours, that for Ken seemed like days, the bus stopped in Bay City. He had begun his journey with the idea of going to L.A., but right now he was so tired that this place seemed as good as any other for a new start.

 

Grabbing his suitcase and guitar, he emerged the bus, breathing eagerly the night air, the first sounds of the city welcoming him, the distant cry of a siren ...

 

 

Part IV. Just for a moment

 

Life was hard. Cruel and pitiless. Dave Starsky knew better about that than some people would find out in their whole life. People who hadn´t spent two years and ten months in hell, their hearts filled with misery, doubts, pain and nightmares at their return.

 

People unlike him.

 

He´d been back from Vietnam after too long a time for a month now, and even though, yes, he WAS back, he felt as if he wasn´t the same person anymore who´d gone out, willing to fight for his country, willing even to kill... There was some part of him he´d lost in Vietnam. He could feel it not being within him any longer, a strange feeling, since he´d never felt it BE there before it had devastated him.

 

The first days back at Aunt Rosie´s were worse than he´d thought, as bad as his nightmares-filled nights were. Step by step though, he managed to go on, moved by a firm decission. He knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to join the Police Academy to become the best cop in the city. A cop that his father would be proud of.

 

 

*******

 

Dave was heading for his car after to have some drinks with his friends at a nearby bar, when, turning a corner, a young blond man carrying a suitcase, a guitar and studying a map, bumped into him.

 

“Hey guy! Watch your step!” The brunet snapped.

 

“Uh… Sorry," the absent-minded looking man said before glancing back at his map as Dave walked on to his car.

 

“Eh... Sir! Excuse me!” Ken called out.

 

“Yeah?” Dave asked, turning to look at the blond man who´d called after him.

 

“You wouldn’t, by any chance know a hotel or so, where I could spend the night? Something...cheap?” Ken added shyly.

 

“Oh, sure. 64th and Mason. A block away, to the left, 'Melville Hotel'. It's not much of anything, but at least it is clea...well, cheap."

 

“Thanks.” Ken was about to turn, when Dave, already into his car, called after him.

 

“Hey, you, Blondie!”

 

“What?” He asked, half-surprised, half-annoyed by the unknown man´s nerve.

 

“Try not to look that much like a lost tourist, okay? It´s not a wise move.”

 

“I´ll try to remember it." Ken replied coolly, turning for the direction of the hotel. "Thank you."

 

Ken didn't know it, but just for a moment, he´d been close to the imaginary Buddy of his childhood. He also had no clue by that moment, that the man speeding off would in some years be more important to him than any other person in the whole world, and that his life would be more valuable to him than his own.

 

There, that night and in that lonely street, without noticing it, and after years of waiting, two halves of the same soul had finally been close to each other.

 

 

*******

 

Soon, Ken got a modest employ in a bank, and rented a small and neglected apartment that he managed to fix up to get a pretty comfortable and beautiful place to live. His parents were shocked, facing the fact that he was adamant about not coming back to Duluth, and even worse, about his serious intention about joining the Police Academy.

 

“What? A cop?! You want to be a cop?! You got the chance to be a prestigious lawyer, but instead you prefer to be a lousy cop and put your life at risk for nothing?!” Richard Hutchinson´s angry voice boomed out of the receiver Kenneth quickly pulled back from his sore ear.

 

“Yes, father," the younger Hutchinson answered with a new defiance in his voice. He wasn´t scared any more. Finally he´d found the freedom he´d yearned for for so long, and he was willing to fight for it now. "If they´ll take me at the Police Academy, I wanna be a lousy cop. And that is what I’ll be. Nothing will make me change my mind about it!”

 

“Listen to me, Kenneth Richard Hutchinson, you´re about to make the worst mistake of your life, young man.”

 

“That’s the point exactly, father. MY life. The life that from now on I’ll live my way. And if I´m making mistakes, okay, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, trying and making my own decisions will be worth it. Now if you don't mind, I must go to work.”

 

“You won´t ever get a single CENT from me Kenneth, you hear me?! Not a penny!"

 

“That´s okay. I won´t need your money. Good morning, father.” Not waiting for the reply starting to bubble through the connection line like boiling blood, Ken hang up, breathing deeply and heading for the kitchen to fix his daily health shake before going  to work.

 

*******

 

Meanwhile, and once he got letter from the Police Academy confirming his admission, Dave took on jobs whenever there was the chance, waiting for his training to start. He missed his mother, his brother and New York, but he was happy to live with Aunty Rosie and Uncle Al. The times of getting himself into trouble and hanging around with the wrong kind of company were long part of his past. Now, he was just looking forward to the day when he would wear the cadet uniform and start his training to becoming the best police officer in the whole city.

 

Rachel was scared, yet happy. She knew that her son wanted to be a cop more than any other thing in his life, and despite the shadow of her husband’s murder tarnishing her happiness with fear; she knew that her beloved Davey was doing the right thing.

 

 

Part V. Roommates, Lifemates

 

The Police Academy building boiled up with activity. New recruits had just arrived, and the admission hall was packed up with a large group of noisy young men waiting for their names to be read out to get their class schedules, room numbers, keys and building maps.

 

“Roberts, Matthew Albert.”

 

“Here!” a red haired boy said in a loud voice, making his way through the other cadets, up the board to take the stuff that the admissions officer held out for him. “Room 15. Section A…Sanders, Joseph Mark," the officer called out to the next cadet, not paying any attention to the red-haired boy, who was already heading for the bedroom area, stuff in hand. Sanders, a black young man, approached, and same process was repeated.

 

“Starsky, David Michael!” Nobody answered the call as all the cadets looked at each other. Soft murmurs started to fill the hall.

 

“STARSKY, DAVID MICHAEL!” The officer called out again, impatience tingeing his voice now.

 

“Yeah… Here! Present!” Dave rushed into the hall, stopping with a slip in front the admissions board and releasing his grip on a big suitcase that plopped to the floor. The boy had a candy bar in his hand and pyjama bottoms besides  a single sock hanging over his shoulder.

 

“Sorry, my suitcase opened right over there on the stairs... Funny, don't ya think?” Dave said with an apologizing smile to the moody-looking officer. Chuckles replaced the murmurs.

 

“Cadet Starsky. Punctuality is important: more than important. It´s essential here!  Try to not forget it, if you don't want to get yourself in hot water on your very first day. Room 39. Section B."

 

“Sorry sir. I got it. You don't need to be mad at me. As I told you my suitcase...” The icy look of the officer, accompanied by more giggles coming from the other cadets, was the cue to Dave Starsky to, after making a face to his improvised audience, pick up his stuff and suitcase, and head for the bedrooms area without a further word.

 

 

*******

 

Ken was settling his stuff in one of the two closets in his new bedroom, while wondering who and how his roommate would be, when the door went wide open and a young and curly-haired man entered, cursing, puffing and almost dragging his huge suitcase.

 

“Jeez! Damn stairs! As if it would HURT them to install a goddamned elevator here!”

 

Ken turned to look at the intruder, who sank into a nearby chair, producing half of a candy bar from his shirt pocket, wolfing it down with one hungry bite.

 

“Three floors carrying this fucking thing upstairs, man! Three!” The boy said, among his mouthful of candy bar, pointing at his suitcase with his head.

 

The blond´s gaze went first to his face, then down to his shoulder, where the clothes still hang, and back to his face again.

 

“Oh! My suitcase flew open on the stairs,” Dave said nonchalantly. “I guess I filled it too much. By the way, I´m Dave. Dave Starsky,” he added, getting to his feet and reaching out his hand to Hutch with a warm smile on his lips.

 

“Ken Hutchinson.” Both men shook hands, and Ken, not recalling the night two years before, when he´d just arrived in the city and had asked Dave about some place to spend the night, felt that he knew that man.

 

Oh, well. Who knows? Maybe Buddy was real after all, he thought amused, remembering his imaginary curly friend, whose portrait he kept as a lucky charm in his wallet.

 

Which the blond one was unable to guess was that, at that same moment, Dave Starsky was sharing that same odd feeling with him. Somehow, he felt that his blond roommate wasn´t entirely unknown to him.

 

 

********

 

 

Years passed in a rush. They went through their training in the Academy, passing the exams with great marks.

 

Hutch, without knowing why, and after a few months of engagement, married, just for a short time Vanessa, a beautiful and intelligent girl, who under her stunning beauty hid an ice heart, and boundless ambitions. On the other hand, his relationship with his parents softened if just a little along the years. They never would like Starsky, but as far as Hutch was concerned, his parents wouldn’t be an influence to make his own decisions anymore.

 

They were cadets, rookies, police officers and finally detective sergeants and partners in the Bay City´s ninth precinct, making, just as they both had always wanted, a difference in their lives and in other people´s life.

 

They grew up, as their friendship, despite their differences, did. They were different as night and day, but as night and day one couldn´t exist without the other.

 

Hutch found in Starsky the first person that loved him dearly, unconditionally and just like he was. Somebody who teached him that he wasn´t a coward but a valiant cop and man.

 

Starsky got from Hutch all the love and trust he would never have gotten from his brother Nick

 

During their years together, they laughed, cried, suffered and enjoyed, fell in love with some special ladies only to lose them later. They saved each other´s life more times than they could recall, and picked up the pieces of the other’s heart more than once, and despite the scars that time did leave in their souls, they managed to enjoy their lives, caring and nurturing their friendship as the valuable gift that it was, being always there for the other, in the good and the bad days, thinking that they could hit the odds forever, that despite the many times that death brushed past them, it would go by.

 

Fate, though, had other plans.

 

They didn´t know it, but that morning of late November, a few days before Thanksgiving Day, while driving towards a supermarket to attend in an armed robbery with hostages, they were sharing their last moments together.

 

Just a while later, Starsky, blinded by tears, was kneeling down, saying what they knew were their last goodbyes, as Hutch, lying on floor, bleeding and with his last strength, held out a little longer, before he gave his last breath.

 

“It was g-great, huh, Starsk? We spent so-some great times together,” Hutch said wincing; his voice a fading whisper, holding weakly on to Starsky´s hand.

 

“And we’ll have more of it, Hutch. Now, don't talk. Just hold on a little longer. Ambulance is on the way,” Starsky said, swallowing hard against his tears and knowing that very soon, the world would be a too cold and dark place for him to live in.

 

“No-No Starsk... This ti-time th-the show is over…”

 

“Hutch…”

 

“Its o-okay Starsk…We’ll be together ag-again before we´ll kn-know it, partner, you can b-bet….”

 

“I-I love you, Blondie.” Tears were cascading down Starsky´s cheeks.

 

“I love you too… Buddy.”

 

Then, life simply went out from Hutch eyes…

 

 

*******

 

 

In the funeral service next day, Starsky, being just a pale shadow of himself, did his best to pay the last tribute to his partner, his imaginary childhood’s friend, his real soul brother.

 

Later, he went back to Hutch´s apartment. He didn´t want anybody's pity or help. He just wanted to be alone with his unbearable sorrow.

 

Next morning, Dobey, looking for him out of worry, found his corpse in Hutch's greenhouse. He found Starsky lying on the divan, apparently asleep and with a soft smile curling his lips.

 

As later the forensic report stated, there weren’t traces of alcohol or any drugs or toxic substances in his blood. Starsky hadn't killed himself. The death’s cause, according to the autopsy, had been a heart attack. Starsky simply had let his broken soul left his body, to go to find its other half.

 

He had died by natural causes.

 

 

Some years later…

 

“You know?” A young mother said to another one in the park, while their little kids were playing cheerily some steps away. “You're very lucky, Joan. I´d never see two siblings closer to each other than your sons. That’s so beautiful!” The woman called Joan nodded with an absent-minded expression, before saying,

 

“Yeah. Their relationship is something special.” She paused a second before to keep talking. “Do you knew that Greg, my older son spent most of his two first years of life crying?” Joan winced at the memory. “His father and I were desperate. Greg was perfectly healthy, and the doctors were unable to find any physical or mental disease in him. However, he wouldn´t do anything but cry most of the time. Then, Max, my younger son was born, and from then on, as unbelievable as it seems, Greg's anguish was over. Suddenly, inexplicably. From that day on, he began to laugh, to play, to eat with appetite and to sleep all night long without wake up crying. He began to be a happy child. The doctors didn't find any explanation for that, and I guess it´s hard to believe. But true…”

 

THE END

 

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